This is according to the Times, who understand Chelsea are keeping a close eye on England international Walcott, whose current deal at the Emirates Stadium expires in the summer of 2016.
It’s believed the 26-year-old’s preference is to sign a new deal with the Gunners, but he may listen to offers from elsewhere if his contract situation is not resolved before the start of the 2015-16 campaign.
Four reasons why Chelsea want Walcott
The report indicates there are four main reasons why Chelsea are keen to add Walcott to their ranks: his quality, versatility, experience and the club’s need to increase their quota of home-grown players in the first team.
John Terry, Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas are the first-team regulars at Chelsea who fall into the ‘home-grown player’ category, while the other five - both the Champions League and Premier League order clubs to have at least eight home-grown players in their ranks - are comprised of youngsters.
Cuadrado signing makes Walcott deal unlikely
That Chelsea splashed out £23.3 million on Colombian winger Juan Cuadrado in January, however, could make Walcott less inclined to join the Blues if he does end up leaving Arsenal this summer.
Cuadrado has struggled for first-team opportunities since arriving at Stamford Bridge due to the form of the direct Willian, who is perfect for the style of football Jose Mourinho encourages his team to produce.
Walcott, a right-sided winger by trade, relishes playing upfront but has failed to convince in that position for either club or country.
He was deployed in that role for England, alongside Tottenham’s Harry Kane against Italy on Tuesday night, but struggled and was hauled off by Roy Hodgson after 55 minutes for Ross Barkley.
Liverpool is a better destination for Walcott
A better destination for Walcott might be Liverpool, who are keen on the former Southampton starlet, particularly if the Reds lose Raheem Sterling this summer.
Sterling’s contract situation is becoming an increasingly problematic issue for Liverpool, who are reluctant to meet the 20-year-old’s astronomical wage demands.
Walcott, as one of the fastest players in the Premier League, will be a man in significant demand - both from clubs in England and overseas - if Arsenal fail to tie him down to a new long-term deal this summer.
But it’s hard to imagine him joining Chelsea as things currently stand.
Chelsea fans: would you be happy if Jose Mourinho signed Theo Walcott this summer? Have your say in the comments below!
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